Over the past couple of years, Chatbots have been gaining in popularity amongst websites and businesses. Artificial Intelligence has already evolved to such a state that some professionally designed bots can comfortably pass the Turing Test in text form. As such, various businesses are incorporating chatbots to communicate with their customers with heightened efficiency.
In this article, we’ll give you an overview of the many benefits of chatbots for businesses. However, before we do that, let’s explore what chatbots really are and why they’ve become so relevant.
What Are Chatbots?
A chatbot is essentially an AI program that stimulates interaction with users via an instant messaging platform. These bot platforms can imitate human patterns of speech and behavior when engaging users in a conversation. They utilize machine learning to understand and imitate conversational cadences in order to respond to them later in a realistic manner. In recent years they have even gained the ability to understand sarcasm, humor, and colloquialisms in addition to simple commands. Because of AI’s ability to evolve with experience, they only continue to improve and become more accurate as they engage in additional conversations.
What Makes Chatbots Relevant?
A chatbot bridges two very relevant technological trends — Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Instant Messaging (IM) Platforms. Artificial Intelligence allows these bots to engage realistically with users, making them far more efficient and consistent in their responses than their human counterparts.
Over the past couple of years, instant messaging platforms like WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat, etc, have surpassed the usage of social media platforms. Chatbots capitalize upon that trend by meeting users in an instant messaging platform, application, or website for easier communication.
What Are the Benefits of Chatbots?
Now that you know what chatbots are and why they’re gaining such relevance, let’s look at some of their most important benefits for businesses.
Better Customer Service
The necessity of providing great customer service cannot be underestimated. Usually, customer service experts have to be hired to fill that role. However, using bots to interact with customers can offer a number of great benefits.
According to studies, over 80% of all online shoppers require some form of support during shopping. Customers need assistance in understanding which product fits their needs, questions regarding shipment, refund, etc. Furthermore, sometimes shoppers also need assistance in figuring out how to navigate the site and where to find the product they need.
Due to a large number of customers seeking assistance at any given time, a lot of human resources would traditionally be necessary to meet all their requirements. And if you don’t hire enough people, your customers will have to wait or leave tickets, both of which can be frustrating and might lead to a loss of potential business.
Chatbots, however, provide real-time assistance and answer all of their questions without leading to any delays or long waiting periods as they can handle hundreds or even thousands of simultaneous conversations. Furthermore, chatbots don’t just offer answers to programmed questions, they can also interact with the users and ask follow-up questions to better understand their needs. They can also provide customers with text, images, or even videos to help them.
It’s important to have good customer service 24/7 so that you can meet your customers’ needs at all times. This is especially true in an ever-growing global marketplace world wherein you have to contend with different time zones and conversations in various languages.
Chatbots are available at all times and they can assist the customers with all their needs. If a complicated issue arises that the chatbot can’t assist with, it can be programmed to acknowledge this and forward the request to an actual human assistant.
Because the chatbot is available for assistance 24/7, you can scale up your operations and maintain consistent communication with all of the markets your companies do business within throughout the world.
Generally speaking, businesses follow a “passive customer interaction” module wherein they only interact with customers when they are contacted. They do not initiate conversations. However, with the growth of online businesses and the rise of millennials as consumers, passive companies just don’t cut it anymore.
Online businesses need to engage with the consumers and let them know of their availability even before they’re prompted. However, organizations just don’t have the kind of manpower necessary for a human to initiate a conversation with every single site visitor. That’s where chatbots come in. They can initiate a conversation with the consumer, and answer any questions they might have. This furthers the customer experience and helps foster customer loyalty.
The best way to reach out to Millennial and Gen-Z consumers is through social media platforms. In this case, a chatbot can prove extremely beneficial as it can interact persuasively with the brand’s demographic in the platform of their choice.
Users tend to appreciate that a chatbot only has the ability to answer the questions that they have been asked and generally does not bombard the user with irrelevant information. This helps create a more realistic and engaging bond with the consumers.
If a consumer tells the chatbot that they don’t like a particular product, or that they want products similar to a particular piece, the chatbot can assist them by analyzing their inputs and offering relevant product recommendations. It can also instantly pull up their customer data and make personalized suggestions based on big data analytics. This can help increase conversion rates.
Data and Insight Analysis
Chatbots don’t just have the ability to communicate with the consumers, they can also offer you an in-depth report of the communications. The feedback provided by the chatbots can help you make necessary changes to your product offerings, website design, etc. and can personalize a page to provide a unique experience based on what it learns about the consumer.
A chatbot can also reach out to consumers with surveys. For example, if a particular webpage doesn’t lead to a lot of conversions, the chatbot can survey the visitors regarding their experience and then present that data to you. This can be a great tool for optimizing your services.
Furthermore, chatbots also monitor consumer behaviors and purchasing patterns. As such, you get a better idea of who is visiting your website and who is buying which product. This information can help you optimize your marketing efforts and allow you to further segment your campaigns.
Better Lead Generation
Chatbots don’t simply offer pre-programmed messages, they can adapt their narrative voice to suit the occasion. They can analyze the consumer’s input and respond with relevant and personalized remarks aimed towards persuading the consumer to buy a product or take an action. By directing and controlling the flow of information these bots can help you generate more leads by improving your conversion rate.
Human labor is always expensive, even if you’re outsourcing the customer service to another country. And the larger your operation, the more customer service agents you need. A human can only work for limited hours and only manage one or a few customers at a time.
Chatbots can make the entire process a lot more efficient. They can handle an endless number of consumers simultaneously and they are functional 24/7. As such, if you use chatbots, you’ll only need to hire a fraction of the number of people that you would need otherwise. You only need customer service personnel in case a problem arises that the chatbot can’t handle. Because of this, bots can drastically bring down the cost of operations while enhancing customer satisfaction.
As you can see, chatbots can be used in a number of different capacities. Since people are more growing more comfortable instant chatting rather vs telephonic conversations, the demand for chatbots is likely to increase dramatically in the near future. If you haven’t already, you should hop aboard the chatbot bandwagon because the benefits are simply too vast and numerous to neglect.